He starts off with a few questions:
But have you ever really thought about your soul? Have you ever thought about how the afterlife would work? Which life forms get an afterlife and which do not?
Yes, because I am a being capable of self-reflection, because I am a creature that bears the image of God, and everything that entails.
Yes, I’ve wondered what it might be like, once I am freed from this flesh, from this dying husk, what life in eternity will be like. What’s interesting is that the Bible describes a life, not much unlike this one, where there is perfect communion between creatures and their Creator.
Well, it’s simple, only those beings which God has created to do so.
Then he moves from insightful, to down-right ludicrous:
Start with a bacterium. Does it have a soul and does it get an afterlife? A bacterium is a cell membrane filled with a variety of molecules. These molecules react together in different ways to create what we call life. Although all of these molecules are reacting in fascinating, interlocking ways, they are still nothing more than chemicals reacting. The “miracle of life” is no miracle — it is a big chemical reaction. When those reactions stop, the cell is dead.
Well, there’s a complete misunderstanding of what constitutes life: we don’t call a glass of soda sitting on a counter “alive” because of the chemical reactions that causes it to fizz away. Life is indicated by a series of processes: growth, consumption of food, reproduction, expelling of waste, rinse and repeat until it ceases those functions. To reduce it to merely chemical reactions is simply and abuse of logic, throwing the category open to occurrences that no one would conclude is a sign of life.
Then he says this:
The human body is nothing but a set of chemical reactions. The chemical reactions powering a human life are no different from the reactions powering the life of a bacterium, a mosquito, a mouse, a dog or a chimp. When a human being dies, the chemical reactions stop. There is no “soul” mixed in with the chemicals, just like there is no soul in a bacterium, a mosquito, a mouse, a dog or a chimp. Why would there be an afterlife for the chemicals that make up a human body?
Let’s deal with the straw man: Christians don’t believe that there is such a thing as death, at least in the way that Mr. Brain considers it. Death is simply a separation from one state to another, no one ever truly ceases to exist, they just move from one state of existence, the temporal, to another, the eternal. Now, we have to understand what God decreed and how that is worked out. Also, we do not believe that the soul is composed of chemical reactions because it is what constitutes the central driving force of man as God’s image bearer. No Christian, at least a consistent biblically reflective one, would argue that at all. We recognize that this body is temporary, that what keeps it moving, are the variety of chemical reactions that drive it. But even atheist Thomas Nagel, in his book Mind and Cosmos, has conceded that to reduce humanity to mere chemical reaction is simply not supported by the evidence; because, if it were, these words that I am typing into this blog post would have no meaning, they are merely the random arrangements of electrons onto an electrically charged surface to create waves of photon to trigger receptors in the eye. No one thinks like that, at least no one that I’ve met thinks like that, we agree that words have these things called meanings, and those meanings are not physical things because if they were they would have size, shape, weight, and color, all of which are further abstract qualities.
Paul the Apostle, in Romans 8:20-22 (ESV), makes this insight:
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
Notice that the creation, the world, the environment in which we live has been corrupted because of man’s sin. But because of God’s promise, back in Genesis 3:15 (ESV):
I will put enmity between you and the woman,and between your offspring and her offspring;he shall bruise your head,and you shall bruise his heel.
man has a hope that God will do something new, something restorative, something yet to be seen, even though, as believers in Christ, we have already received a down payment on it.
Then there’s this statement:
Knowing this, you can see that everything about religion is imaginary. God, the Bible, Jesus, the resurrection, prayer, the Ten Commandments, the creation story, your soul, everlasting life, heaven… every bit of it is the product of human imagination.
Notice that he is limiting the category of religion to one in particular. He is not trying to disprove any other religion, just Christianity. Why is that? Could it be that there is something about Christianity, the fact that it is anchored in history, the fact that it rises and falls around the fact of the historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth, and the movement that grew out of the very city in which he was killed, with the claim of his bodily resurrection, something that was never contradicted in the historical evidence. The obvious conclusion, to anyone who has spent any time reflecting upon or studying history, if a claim is never meaningfully contradicted in the literature, there is something to it, something that needs to be considered and not simply dismissed, as Mr. Brain does.